LCD screening

The group projects have begun. When choosing a group in User Interface Design, we had to consider what skills each member brought to the group. C and D said that they both come from computer science backgrounds and know how to do things like program. And D can draw better than either of us. They looked at me.

"Um... Need anybody to speak some French? I can speak a whole mess of French!"

Hmmm. Apparently that is not a useful skill in this situation. Luckily it was decided that I have writing and expression skills that they lack. They must want me for some other reason, though, because that sounded like a lame skill.

Unfortunately, I think I am beginning to suspect why they really want me around. My contribution to my group seems to be as the Stupid User Example. We had to look at a common electronic device today and analyze it according to Jakob Nielsen's Usability Heuristics. We chose C's cell phone and passed it around to see how usable it was for a first-timer.

I would push a button then draw back in surprise and fear when it did something I didn't expect. I had to ask what everything did. I kept pushing the wrong buttons and screaming.

"You're not a cell phone user, are you?" C asked. I don't know where she got that impression.

"Actually, I have had one." Wait, that made me look even more pathetic. Backspace! Backspace! Oh wait, I'd already said it. Crap.

Mostly I just dug myself deeper, looking more and more like some kind of technology mutant and having no idea how them portable fellytones work because clearly I have been living in a cave. On Mars. With my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears.

When designing new products, it's good to know what mistakes the lowest common denominator is going to make... it's not quite as good to be the lowest common denominator yourself.

srah - Wednesday, 10 September 2003 - 7:36 PM

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Comments (9)

gravatar cubicle dweller - September 10, 2003 - 9:59 PM -

Srah, most cell phones have the worst user interfaces ever invented in this history of humanity. They were designed by blind primates with a crack problem. I hate all cell phones. I've had mine for two years and I've learned not to mess with the menus at all. I just type phone numbers and hit Send.

The problem is the people who don't want to *admit* that they're having a problem with the UI. They pretend everything is fine and they know what they're doing. It's up to you and me to stop the insanity :)

gravatar katie - September 10, 2003 - 11:49 PM -

Are you 'A' or 'B'?

gravatar srah - September 10, 2003 - 11:51 PM -

I am 'S'. :p

gravatar haiku richard - September 11, 2003 - 9:33 AM -

The Stupid User
She serves as an example
of how not to be

gravatar srah - September 11, 2003 - 11:06 AM -


gravatar jday - September 11, 2003 - 11:45 AM -

Umm, how do Liquid Crystal Displays have anything to do with screening? I'm slow... (and moving to St. Louis!)

gravatar Mr. Hibbity Gibbity - September 11, 2003 - 12:32 PM -

You know . . . I was avoiding this post for some reason . . . and then I read it . . .


Thank you. Still chuckling.

gravatar srah - September 11, 2003 - 2:48 PM -

LCD screen... Lowest Common Denominator screening... it's sort of like a pun or something.

gravatar srah - September 12, 2003 - 7:07 AM -

ST. LOUIS?????!!! When??

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